TEA JOURNEYS OF NICK GARBIEL, CFO OF STEEP MOUNTAIN TEA
My personal journey with tea didn’t start utill I was 41 and on my honeymoon. Up to this point, I enjoyed the occasional cup of tea, particularly in the evening. I liked the flavor, I liked the fact it didn’t keep me up at night, and I enjoyed the fact that it didn’t make my breath smell the way coffee did.
But my story really begins while driving the Pacific NW coast while on my covid honeymoon. See, we were supposed to have a large wedding, 200 plus people from our large families, but covid got in the way. So, we grabbed 3 friends and got hitched up in the mountains, at the reservoir 15 min from Bozeman. It was great. Along with this, was the postponement of our European honeymoon (we did end up going for our 1 year anniversary). So, we set out to San Juan Island in Washington, with the hopes of seeing orca whales up close and personal, along with the other sights to see. We did just that and then decided to drive down the coast to Oregon.
Along the way, I made the decision to open my work e-mails (even though I said I wouldn’t) and read an e-mail from my business partner Serena. It was the sell sheet for Townsend’s Bozeman Teahouse. I thought she was absolutely insane. Who buys a service industry business during a pandemic? However, I looked at the numbers… it was a good business. But I knew nothing about tea and taking on a new business sounded very overwhelming. I put the idea aside till we returned from our honeymoon.
Upon my return, I chatted with Serena about the opportunity, voiced my concerns and then she revealed to me that the current operators/partners, the Herrons, were the ones to approach us. They wanted to stay on as managers and work with us. I was sold. I had known the two since the teahouse had opened in 2014 and respected the way in which they did business. The rest is history. I got a quick crash course in the history and various kinds of tea. Since then I have been constantly learning more about tea and the culture that surrounds it. It’s fascinating. As our business grows, I’m looking forward to learning even more.